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What is the Difference Between Hepatitis A B and C?

What is the Difference Between Hepatitis A B and C?

24 April 2014 / Category: News
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What is the Difference Between Hepatitis A B and C?Hepatitis is not uncommon but it’s largely misunderstood. In general, hepatitis signifies inflammation of your liver. This can be attributed to certain medications, drug or alcohol abuse, or—most frequently—it is caused by an infecting virus. Viral hepatitis is the most common and includes types A, B, and C. Keeping up with the different strains of the hepatitis virus can be confusing. Many people also confuse AIDs and hepatitis. It’s important to note that these are two different viruses, although once one already has AIDS they are at a greater risk for contracting hepatitis and not being able to fight it off. In the USA alone, viral hepatitis causes 10,000 deaths each year, knowledge is power; here we explain the basics about hepatitis and how you can help protect yourself.

Common Symptoms Of Hepatitis

Catching hepatitis early is extremely important. Often, by the time symptoms become obvious enough for patients to seek medical care the liver has already been damaged. Hepatitis symptoms are delayed, immediately after contracting the virus you might not notice any difference at all, but slowly symptoms will begin to surface.

Common symptoms of hepatitis include:

-Nausea, belly pain and/or no interest in eating

-Dark/discolored urine

-Jaundice, yellowing of the skin or eyes

-Low-grade consistent fever

-Weakness, fatigue

(Learn More)

What is the Difference Between Hepatitis A B and C? 

Many people feel confused about the different types of hepatitis viruses out there. While all hepatitis leads to liver damage, each strain is slightly different, and some pose a greater risk to your health than others.

Hepatitis A: You may have already contracted hepatitis A at some point in your life and not even know it; this highly contagious form of hepatitis spreads from person to person in the form of a moderate illness. Thankfully, this form of hepatitis usually goes away on its own and will not damage your liver permanently. It is spread through food or water that has been touched by an infected individual whom did not wash their hands after using the bathroom. Thus, causing tiny particles of infected stool to slip unknown into your food, gross right? You are most at risk if you live in a region where there are high hepatitis A rates. The CDC provides information about recent hepatitis outbreaks globally to help keep you safe at home and while traveling.

Hepatitis B: Infants infected with hepatitis B have a 90% chance of developing chronic hepatitis. Infected adults have a better chance of fighting the virus off, although some can’t fight it off. Without treatment hepatitis B leads to permanent liver damage including liver failure and liver cancer.  Hepatitis B can’t be spread sharing food or shaking hands, bodily fluids or blood must be transmitted in order for someone to transmit hepatitis B. This strain of hepatitis is most commonly spread through unprotected sex, but it can also be transmitted through razors, needles, or toothbrushes.

Hepatitis C: Around the world, 170 million people are infected with the hepatitis C virus (Read More). If you come into contact with hepatitis C you have a 25% chance of being able to battle it off, otherwise the virus becomes an acute infection. The lasting effects of hepatitis C are as serious as liver cancer and liver failure. You can actively help preserve your liver with proper medical treatment for hepatitis C.

Hepatitis D and E: Although more rare, there are 2 other strains of hepatitis, known as hepatitis D and E. Hepatitis D only infects those that already have hepatitis B virus, when two forms of hepatitis enter the body it can cause extreme illness, and even death. Hepatitis E is usually caused by consuming contaminated food or water, this is more common in developing countries where hepatitis E outbreaks are known to occur (More Information).

 Are You Living With Hepatitis?

Many people are living with the hepatitis virus and don’t even know it, although at any time symptoms can begin to surface. Chronic hepatitis is sneaky, slowly damaging your liver without your knowledge. A simple blood test will determine if you are positive for viral hepatitis, caught early the side effects can be controlled through proper treatment.

About the author

Jonathan Kudrowitz Mr. Kudrowitz is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University’s Physician Assistant Program (MMS) and also completed a master’s degree in biomedical science (MS) at Florida Atlantic University. Jon is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is a member in good standing of the FAPA and AAPA. He joined UMC in 2009 and shares a commitment to delivering high-quality care with the utmost compassion, respect and attention to his patients.




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